Finger-licking fantastic, that's how delicious you can call Belgian cuisine! Fancy doing some yourself? Be our guest!
Brussels' chefs have managed to combine the best basic local ingredients and centuries of traditional cookery and turn our typical Belgian comfort food into a delightful gastronomic experience. Chips, meatballs in tomato sauce, oven-baked chicory wrapped in ham, stoemp (Belgian-style mashed potatoes), 'waterzooi' stew,... and to top it all off, perhaps some chocolate or a delicious waffle? Below you will find some tried and tested recipes* from Brussels' chefs!
*Recipes serve 4
Chicons au gratin
(Belgian endive rolls in a cheese sauce)
- 8 endives
- 8 slices of bone-in cooked ham
- 40cl milk
- 150g butter
- 300g grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 tsp sugar
- Grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash the endives and remove any damaged outer leaves. Trim the bottom of the endives and remove the bitter root base. Heat 50g of butter in a saucepan and add the endives with a few drops of water and the sugar. Leave to braise for 15 minutes lid on. The endives are cooked when tender and when they start to caramelize slightly. Remove them from the saucepan and leave them to drain for half an hour. In the meantime, prepare a Béchamel sauce and stir in some of the endive cooking juice. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and add 200g of the grated Gruyere cheese little by little. Wrap each endive in a slice of ham. Put them into a gratin dish. Pour the Béchamel sauce over the wrapped endives and place the gratin dish in a 180°C oven for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes in the oven, add the remaining grated Gruyere cheese over the preparation and leave until the sauce is bubbly and golden brown.
Stoemp and sausage
- 1,5 kg potatoes (bintje)
- 750g carrots
- 50g butter
- ½ finely chopped onion
- 4 sausages
- Grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel the carrots and potatoes. Cut the carrots into dice and the potato into large pieces. Melt the butter and sweat the onion and carrots in a covered saucepan. Then add the potatoes and pour water in halfway. Cook until the water is evaporated (15 to 20 minutes). Mash the ingredients, season with grated nutmeg, salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake the sausages and serve with the stoemp.
“Carbonnades à la flamande” (Flemish Beef Stew)
- 1kg beef for stew
- 2 to 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 large yellow onions
- Dijon mustard
- 1 slice of bread or 4 to 6 "pain d’épices” (sort of gingerbread)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 x 33cl brown beer (Rodenbach)
Cut the onions in chunks and colour them golden brown in a small amount of butter. Add the dices beef and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Fry gently until brown. Smear the mustard on the slice of bread or “pain d’épices” and place upside down on the stew. Cover the preparation with beer. Cover the casserole and leave to simmer on a gentle heat for about two hours. Stir regularly. Serve with steamed potatoes.
- 1 chicken
- 200g minced veal
- 4 “vol-au-vent” puff pastries
- 200g white cultivated mushrooms
- 1 lemon
- 1 leek
- 100g celery
- 1 onion
- 2 egg yolks
- 200g cream
- 4 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp thyme
- Freshly ground pepper and salt
Place the chicken in water with the cut celery, onion, thyme, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Let it cook for around an hour and remove the foam regularly. Cut the mushrooms in pieces and stew them with a dash of lemon juice, pepper and salt. Make small veal balls from the minced veal. Blanch them in salted water and refresh them direct after with running cold water. Take the chicken out of the pan and cut in pieces. Then sieve the chicken bouillon. Make a roux out of 4 parts of the butter and 5 parts of the flour. Mix the chicken bouillon with the roux until it is a smooth sauce. Let the sauce cook to get rid of the flour taste. Add the chicken, the veal balls and the mushrooms together with the cooking juice. Let it all simmer and add half of the cream. Make a liaison of the egg yolk and the rest of the cream and add this to the sauce until it thickens (do not boil!). Serve the sauce with the chicken inside and on top of the oven-preheated puff pastry.
- 4kg Zeeland mussels
- 2 onions
- 2 sticks of celery
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash and scrub the mussels carefully. Dice onions and celery very finely. Take a tall-sided, heavy-based container: casserole dish or stockpot. Put the vegetables and butter in and brown for 3 minutes. Add water. Once boiling, add the mussels and continue cooking over a high heat. Allow precisely 7 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve piping hot still in the pan together with fairly thick-cut chips or a salad. Throw away any unopened mussels.
- 1 meat of a whole chicken
- 20g fresh butter
- 1 egg
- 1 slice of bread per person
- A squeeze of lemon
- 20cl cream
- 5 parsley roots
- 5 all-purpose potatoes
- 2 onions cut into two
- 5 carrots
- 6 celery stalks
- 1 clove
- Thyme and bay leaf Pepper and salt
- Leave to simmer for 3 hours over a low heat
Make a good chicken stock the day before using a large whole chicken. Once the chicken cooked, trim off all bones and skin and remove gizzard and liver. Put the chicken meat to one side. Place the leftover chicken bones in a large casserole and cover with half stock and half water. Add following (diced) vegetables: 5 parsley roots, 5 all-purpose potatoes, 2 onions cut in two, 5 carrots, 6 celery stalks, 1 clove, thyme and bay leaf, pepper and salt. Leave to simmer for 3 hours over a low heat. Remove the vegetables from the stock and blend them as a base for the sauce. Then, add the chicken meat and a little bit of fresh butter to the stock. Just before serving, add an egg yolk in the serving plate and slowly whisk in the hot stock – be careful not to let the yolk cook. Add fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with a slice of wholemeal bread and butter.
Wash the Brussels sprouts in several batches of water and leave in slightly salted water before cooking. Cook the Brussels sprouts in a saucepan of boiling salted water. To maintain the fresh green colour, do not cover your saucepan or add a teaspoon of baking soda. Cook for 8- 10 min. until tender, then drain and cool in iced water or under the cold tap. Drain well. Add butter in the saucepan and pour in the drained Brussels sprouts to gently fry and colour, season with salt, freshly ground pepper and grated nutmeg.
- Pureed brussels sprouts: Puree the sprouts and add whipped cream. Stir and season to taste.
- Stoemp with brussels sprouts: Cook the Brussels sprouts with the potatoes (1/3 Brussels sprouts to 2/3 potatoes). When the vegetables are cooked, mash them to a puree. Add a knob of butter and season with grated nutmeg, salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Brussels sprouts with cheese: Draw your inspiration from the recipe by Gaston Clément, famous chef of King Leopold II and Albert I. Cook the Brussels sprouts as above and drain well. Make a white sauce and add grated cheese and the juice of half a lemon. Pour the smooth sauce on the Brussels sprouts in a gratin dish. Add grated cheese on top and put in the oven or under the grill until the crust is golden brown.
Meat balls in tomato sauce
- 1kg of minced pork and veal
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- 1 large pinch of grated nutmeg
- 4 slices of bread
- ½ glass of buttermilk for cooking
- 1.5l crushed tomatoes or tomato coulis
- 1 onion or shallot
- Fresh or powdered herbs: oregano, laurel and a small pinch of cayenne pepper
Place the meat into a salad bowl and work in the crushed garlic clove, the egg yolks, the slices of bread softened in the milk, drained and crumbled, salt and pepper, nutmeg and chopped parsley. Mix thoroughly and shape into balls. Brown the meat balls in some hot butter in a frying pan and set aside.
Fry the chopped onions in a thick-bottomed saucepan, add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and the herbs. As soon as the sauce is starting to boil, add in the meat balls and leave to simmer on very low heat for 40 min. Must be served with Belgian chips!
- 8 large nicely red plum tomatoes
- 400g peeled grey shrimps (they have to be grey…)
- The ingredients needed to make a home-made mayonnaise
- The juice of half a lemon
- A few large lettuce leaves or other raw vegetables
Steep each tomato in boiling water for 4 to 5 seconds and peel immediately. Slice off the top and scoop out the flesh and the pips, gently sprinkle with salt and leave to drain upside-down for a few minutes on kitchen paper. In the meantime, work up a nice thick lemony mayonnaise with plenty of mustard and add three quarters of the shrimps to the mayo. Fill the scooped tomatoes with the mix-ture and place the top back on, dress the tomatoes on the lettuce and garnish by sprin-kling the remaining shrimps on top and around the plate.
To be stored fresh until it’s time to tuck in.
Once you have peeled and washed the potatoes, ideally “bintjes”, slice into slices maximum 1 cm thick. Repeat this in the other direction, keeping an equal distance between cuts. Immediately put the fat or oil to heat at 140°C for the first fry, wait for one minute and then remove from the fat. Then raise the temperature to 180 °C and dunk the chips again until they are golden. Once you have drained them, remove any remaining fat and add salt or place the chips into a bag shaped like an upturned cone just like on real chip stands.
Mousse au chocolat
- 250g Belgian chocolate
- 60g butter
- 8 eggs
- 50g sugar
Melt the chocolate and butter on a very low heat. Stir until smooth and well-combined. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until almost white and quite thick in consistency. Gently stir the whisked yolks into the slightly cooled melted chocolate and butter. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed, then gently fold them into the chocolate mixture. Transfer the mousse to small cups or ramekins and chill in the fridge.